Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Erica's 5 Books: As Seen on TV

Erica’s 5 Books: As Seen on TV

I know, I know, it’s Mt. Airy. Most of you don’t even have a TV. You’re busy eschewing television in favor of nobler intellectual pursuits. Well, I’ve got a secret for you: sometimes TV steals your books and turns them into TV shows! All hail the Hell Box and its magnificent cunning!

The Walking Dead Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman (Image, $34.99).
Who exactly are the walking dead? Are they flesh-hungry zombies roving the countryside or are they the flawed band of humans who have survived the zombie apocalypse only to eke out a brutal, fragile existence that one could hardly call living?

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (Pocket, $7.99).
Temperance “Tempe” Brennan is a ballsy, no-nonsense forensic anthropologist who finds herself injured and trapped in an underground tomb, making for high drama in low places. Fox’s Bones TV series keeps Temperance as its lead, but uses Reichs’s real life experiences as its basis. So there’s no cheating on this one, folks. If you want to know how she escapes the tomb, you’ll have to read the book.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (Vintage, $7.99).
Dexter Morgan is Jeff Lindsay’s serial killer with a heart of gold—he only murders other serial killers. Points awarded for titular alliteration and for the complexity of Lindsay’s murderous antihero in thrall of a Dark Passenger, i.e., his need to kill. Dexter wears humanity as the ultimate disguise and is played to apathetic, amoral perfection by Michael C. Hall in the Showtime series.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Penguin, $7.99). The Sookie Stackhouse paranormal romance mysteries are a soft, froofy PG-13, but the HBO series True Blood is definitely a hard, salacious R. I’ve seen more of Anna Paquin’s naked flesh than I ever cared to see, but Paquin for all her nudity, manages to maintain Sookie’s gutsy Southern charm and almost pigheaded sleuthing instincts—a hallmark of the book series.

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Random House, $14.00). The first in this gentle, charming series following Mma Ramotswe, Botswana’s only lady detective, #1LDA combines a light touch with a penetrating exploration of character, politics and social mores. Subtext steeps along with every quaint cup of red bush tea enjoyed by the resourceful, size 22 heroine, cunningly portrayed by Philly’s own Jill Scott in the HBO miniseries.

February 2011, Erica David

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